February 25, 2006 - Snowmobiling Yellowstone - Day 2

The next morning we awoke to find several elk, two of which were silhouetted against the dawn sky.

Outside/below our window at Mammoth Lodge were a group of elk feeding on the grounds, some of the rare, visible grass and moss in the area.
Notice the mockingbird picking at the elk's mane.

Heading over to the terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs, we find the first of several thermal areas.

Liberty Cap, an extinct geyser, stands out amongst a frozen, crusty, calcified stream.

Each terrace is unique. This one had so much steam eminating from it, but was spectacularly gorgeous.

The terraces are in a setting of rocky, craggy mountains and spruce forests.
Breaktaking. Pictures don't do it justice. You'd think I took the one shot that excluded power lines or cars or townhomes. Nope. Every direction looked like this.
(Actually, that's not true, either. Every direction was unique, as you see from the pictures, but every one was pristine.)

The top of yet another thermal terrace - with a plateau behind it.

A shot of Jill with the town/area/valley of Mammoth behind her.

Canary Pool, so named for its color.

Another shot - just so you don't think the color was a reflection.
It is perfectly, serenely azure.

Jill and I pose at the top of the terraces a mile away from - and 1,000 feet above where we started in Mammoth.

We walk back down to Mammoth to get our saddlebags and pass another group of elk.

I walked to the post office (which was closed), and had a close encounter with a big momma. It was so quick, I didn't have time to zoom.
(She saw me, stared for 3-4 seconds, then continued walking along her merry way...)

Around 10am, we finally hit the road. South of Mammoth, we're in the upper plains, surrounded by mountains.

The route for today is a short one. We go from the north country to the west gates.
Then, ad libbing a little, we sort of 'play' at the end of the day, adding about 10km or so. You'll see what I'm talking about at the bottom of the next page.
Day 2 is shorter; we only have to go about 50 miles. However, Jill, Bill and I add about 10 miles of play-time at the end. (Actually, I added 20 miles, but Ben and I traipsed all over town to find a recommended place for tomorrow's box lunches.)

The four of us on our sleds.
In case you can't recognize us, it is me, Jill, Carey, and Bill (from front/left to back/right).

Still north of Norris Geyser Basin, we encounter three male bald eagles hanging out on trees, just checking things out. Two are pictured. Can you spot them? (Hints below:)

Here's a close-up. Zoomed in, here is one of them (the farther, higher one) looking in my general direction.
(Previous picture hint: bottom-left and top-right)

The lower eagle. By now, the third (not pictured) one had flown over our heads to the other side of the road.

About a mile down the road, still way north of Norris, we got stopped by some bullish buffalo hogging the road.
When this happens, you have two choices:
1) Wait (and they may never leave)
2) Stay tight and drive on through We drove on through (and I kept my camera handy).

(For perspective, the road is about as wide as a narrow, two-lane highway. I wasn't exactly all the way right, either)
Too bad it didn't come out very good, but you get the idea of how close we got.
No worries, I'll get better (and closer) pictures later.
Trust me...

Still headed south towards Norris junction, we get to Thunder Mountain, so named for all the thermal activity all over it.
Yes, that is a buffalo shadow in the picture.

All this was before lunch. The day hasn't really started...